tv Charlie Rose PBS March 2, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EST
>> rose: welcome to our program. we begin this evening with the south african playwright athol fugard. >> it's a dangerous word because it's abused often but you know, we are all serving bigger than ourselves. there's nothing more painful for me than to see a moment in theatre when it's vanities and conceits that are the reason for what's happening on stage and not service to something else. >> rose: we continue with agnieszka holland and her movie in darkness. >> you have a lot of ethnic cleanings and the murder in rwanda and bosnia and it means
there's a virus we cannot really know and understand and the only way to try to really fight it is to talk about it. it's to try to wake up the emotional imagination and that's what movie can do. movie cannot do too much but can give you the experience and the experience wakes up the inner part and that's the most important thing. >> rose: we conclude the evening with sean brock all about southern cooking and his places in south carolina. >> knowledge and wisdom is everything. we must always research and understand our past or else our future is cloudy. so for me i've spent a lot of
time looking at the 19th century when food was honest and wonderful. our plants weren't genetically engineered and our soil wasn't poisoned and the food tasted incredible and everyone cooked and everyone grew food and i think we'll get back to that some day soon. >> rose: a playwright, director and chef. funding was provided by the following:
africa and turns 80 years old in june and in celebration new york city is playing his plays and in broadway the round about theatre companies is producing the road to mecca. i'm pleased to have athol fugard at the table for the first time. well. >> thank you very much. >> rose: let's talk about blood. what was the inspiration for this? >> you know, a lot of people see the political implications of the play and no question it comments on the society in which racial segregation is a dominant evil but my first inspiration for the play was a midnight encounter with my brother. my own brother. not in any way different to in skin color to what i am, he was
also a white south african and in that counter he was asleep at the time and i saw written on his face the hard times he had lived through and i was very moved by that and fel that he was the seed of something -- >> rose: so you decided to write about two brothers. >> and then south africa gave me the perfect metaphor for the difference between self and the other. >> rose: by self and the other. that's the dynamic. >> that's correct. >> rose: what do you see and think and how does it live for you? >> firstly, it amazes -- the resonances has for american audiences today is absolutely -- >> rose: the resonance with american audiences today? >> and at a political level it
would have no level for the south african. >> rose: but yes for the americans. and why do you think that is? >> firstly because south africa has made the big change and we've turned around when nelson mendela walked out of jail and a black government is in power in that country now. in america i often wonder how much of the flack mr. obama gets is because of his policies or because of his skin color. >> rose: do you really think it's because of his skin color. have you asked the question or have an assumption. >> i have an assumption. i actually think a lot of flack mr. obama comes in for is a result of prejudice. the notion of a black man in the white house. i'll put it as bluntly as that. >> rose: tell me about how you see america today.
you look at this country today and you just -- divided. >> left and right. left isn't a word with so many political resonance us think of communists at the extreme end or liberal but you know what a mean. it's a division in terms of -- yeah, i really do believe it's a division in terms of skin color. >> rose: you really do? the division in america is primarily skin color or primarily out of a sense of racism? >> well, i don't know what the distinction is. can you explain to me? >> rose: skin color and racism -- no, it's the same. >> racism is a better word. >> rose: there's class. >> yes, class as well. >> rose: and some would argue there's a greater distinction
based in class and haves and have-nots than between color. >> that is perfectly true and a reality which is now catching up with the world. i think it's always second to a lot of things but i think that in creasingly the rich are getting richer, the poorer are getting poorer and i think it's reached a point now where it is dominant issue in global politics because we can't localize politics than the way we used to in the past. you know, it's in terms of global politics thes hav the ha the have-nots. that's the issue. >> rose: why don't you write a play about that. about us. >> i don't write plays about ideas. i respond to a very personal story. a human face. i could write a play about you
and maybe the assumption on my side the act of faith on my side would have to be in wright play about charlie rose it may have resonances beyond the personal story i would absolutely concentrate on. i would focus in on you and then cross my fingers and hope that it will work beyond just that. but you can't write that play in the first instance. i know i can't write that play. the worse advice i was ever given and i've ignored it fortunately was mr. fugard after the blood that failed in london on the very first exposure and i got back to south africa licking my wounds because steinen was ruthless in the observer of those day the advise to me was because you were too local.
to regional. write for the broad english speaking population and the world. and so -- >> rose: is this a simple as writing about what you know? >> yes. yeah, the specifics of a life. and the blood knot is full of them. the road to mecca is full of them specifics about a place and a time. and rose marie on that broadway stage brought it to life with two other actors and two other wonderful acters in the blood knot are doing the same thing and american audiences are buying the simplicity of it and enjoying it. it's a wonderful experience for me to be in the audiences and to
just live through the experience of the play because i can't remember writing a line of it. >> rose: can't remember writing a line. where you were or what you were inspired by? >> i remember dotting, my daughter was born and walked to the little important where my wife and i were living with my mother and father and saw i didn't dot the last sentence. i remember that moment because it coincides with my daughter but i have stood in my imagination in that room and i've watched this young man writing but i don't know if that is me. >> rose: you have play maurice. >> yes. >> rose: how difficult it is for you to play, to act? >> well, i must make a
confession. the acting i've done has always been motivated my acceptance of the challenge to go on the stage because i enjoy showing off in front of an audience. i can't give you any other reason. >> rose: just honesty. you enjoy showing off. >> yeah, i enjoy showing off. i'm showing off for you. >> rose: and i appreciate it. it means bringing to bear. >> you're quite right. that's a the way the teacher has to show off in front of the classroom because if you don't those young people will not listen to you or get the lesson. >> rose: in the end that's what the mission is. >> yeah, yeah, sure. >> rose: let's show why you're here. this is a scene with mauric mau
deciding what girl to write as a pen pal. >> good simple decent about equal. >> now before you decide let me tell you about them. >> what do you know? >> i've written it. ethel dunn, i am 18 years old and well developed and would like to correspond with a gent of sober habits and good outlook on life and i like swimming and a happy future. my motto is rolling stones gather no moss. please note i promise to reply faithful. how's that? >> well, developed.
gives you a clear picture, aye. >> rose: how do you like watching that? i like those two actors so much. i'm on record that in my 50 years of making theatre i don't think i've ever lived through as witch and joyous in an rehearsal room as those two have given me. >> rose: do you know why? >> firstly i think that they took to heart something i said to them very early on which is listen, all of us and it's not just you two actors but me as well writer as well as director and it's our designers and our wonderful stage management team we have we all are doing this for a reason bigger than ourselves. >> rose: which is truth? >> yes, yes, that's right. our country. our relationships between
people. truth, yes, yes it's a good word. it's a dangerous word because it's abused often but we are all serving something bigger than ourselves and there's nothing more painful for me than to see a moment in theatre with vanity and conceits that are the reason for what's happening on stage and not service to something else. >> rose: i've often thought that happiness comes if you can find something you want to serve beyond yourself and you'll find a way to some -- road to mecca. what was the inspiration for that? >> it comes straight from life because when i stumbled on this little isolated village and realized houses were for sale it was in a part of the country when i was born, a semidesert area in the heart of africa. i realized it was the writer's
perfect getaway. i settled in and before long i discovered that there was a very eccentric presence in the village. a lady who had abandoned her church and was had spent 25 years of her life sculpting strange creatures in her backyard and yeah, so i made inquiries and it turned out to be in real life ways helen martins and i tried to approach and meet her but she was already very reclusive and apart from one friendship way young woman she would have nothing to do with the outside world. >> rose: no what was the relationship between ms. helen and elsa. >> we met accidentally and her
appreciation of my appreciation of helen she sent me a photograph of herself and ms. hillen and it's a photograph in which you see in mock severity a strapping young african woman looking down at a little frightened creature that was a photograph and i could feel the love between the two of them. now what sort of love it was, i'm not going presume to put any label to it because a relationship between two women has many opportunities and varieties of love as there exists between two men or a man and a woman. >> rose: you're putting no definition to it. >> no definition at all. there was love. that's all i can say about that relationship. and again rose marie and carla
seemed to realize that and they serve that idea serve that performance and so does maria. and she comes in with a basket of vegetables and it's not just about creativity. there was a south african actress. >> rose: you are all three characters. >> you are the artist and angry young south african railing against an injust society and you are the reverend with a rich
religious heritage that goes an african. and my mother was an africana and it was absolutely right. >> rose: what is ms. helen and the darkness about? >> the frightful moment which presented itself once in my owner personal life when you think you've lost it. you think it's come to an end where you can't actually produce any more. your journey's over but you don't want it to be over. nobody wants to and that's what the play really deals with is how helen realizes the inevitablity and what lies beyond is anybody's guess but we cannot escape mortality. we can make gestures of defiance. we can say no like but it's a
pessimistic courage. >> rose: so you have to at some point come to terms. i assume that's what happens in the end that at some point you come to understand the role that death plays. and when you come to that conclusion and you're willing to accept it that this is the way it has been and no one, no one has ever defeated death. >> no one of will. >> rose: then you can some how come to some -- good it defends on what -- >> rose: you haven't lost your capacity. >> it also depends on what life you've lived at that moment because if you have a lot of regrets, then that's a hard way to go. the final exit, you know, it's a hard one. >> rose: i always say you hope you will regret what you didn't do rather than what you did. >> sons of amission or
commission. >> rose: what does it start with the play. >> of a human being. never inidea. >> rose: once you have the image, what happens then? >> if it's authentic or has a magnetic quality and it starts to pull into itself from other areas of your life related images and you wind up with an archipelago of things that and then you try to list it all up out of the water so finally have you a continent. you know, it's a bit of geology you perform actually and that's how to works for me. always with images and always the dynamic and it's always in the initial image the sense of what you've seen has some way to go and to find out what the journey is and to try to follow it through to the end.
>> rose: have you ever wanted -- i mean, to try things beyond writing plays that appealed to your creative powers to they will the stories you tell another medium whether it's film or short story. >> at the beginning i wrote a novel but it amazes know realize at that point in time i wasn't aware of making such a strong choice but looking back i must have chosen theatre rather than prose because i'm of one track mind i can't multitask. i'm not good at that and i find one thing and i life with it and i follow through to it's conclusion. >> rose: and you know when you have that image and once you have that image you know you have something you can move with. >> yeah and it's pretty exciting. >> rose: now where are you then today in terms of an image or a
new play or what you're writing. >> i found the image i wanted and i'm work with if and it's leading me. i'll tell you something about it. it's a pair of green eyes, a human being's green eyes a human behind and behind the pair of green eyes there was a buddhist tonka and there was an image drawn and there was one green eye. there -- i had it. i had it. >> rose: and you knew it. >> straight away. >> rose: that's a great pleasure to meet you >> it was wonderful talking to you. >> rose: thank you so much. really, come back.
>> >> rose: in darkness has been nominated for best foreign fill and pleased to have agnieszka holland for the first time at this table. more than pleased, i'm honored. >> i am honored. >> rose: why do you say you had to do this though you knew you were breaking your own intent. >> it was for the screenwriter. he found the story and wrote the script and decided i am the only person he wants to be the director for the movie and believes i will bring something special to the story and he was spending me the script and i treat and like read it and liked it but i said no and he was stalking me and he was sending to me versions and i started to dream about it and
when i started to dream about it i realized it became a part of myself so i have to tell the story. but the condition was not to do an english speaking film. i believe the story needs to be authentic and as close to the reality as only the commander can be and the language was an important part of the identity. >> rose: they insisted it had to be in english and you held your ground and said if you do that you don't have me and finally said you are right. >> yes, they are pleased now. >> rose: they are pleased. it's in multiple languages. >> it was before the second world war in a polish city with a high amount of ukrainians, jews, austrians and people had been speaking with the nationality and classs different
languages so i decide if i want the truth of the story and the play i have to it has to be different languages. they learn a special lower class version of polish and german actors learned polish and ukrainians and so much so it was learning classes my preparation for the movie. >> rose: when you set out it make this what was the question you were answering or asking? >> no, i think in general the holocaust i don't like the notion because it goes to the case of what it means to us is the human experience and it's the experience which has shown to the world what we can do and the virus of which we never detected and don't understand it.
there are questions after. the questions how the capable were able to do it. where was the man, where was the god, what is the reason of this irrational birth of hate and so well organized at the same time. so many questions that we know we will never answer them and i think we actualized them with the new events which happen since holocaust. we've had a lot of small holocausts a lot of ethnic cleanings and the murder in rwanda and bosnia and it means there's some kind of the virus we cannot really know and try to understand and the only way to try to really fight it is to talk about it. it's to try to wake up the emotional imagination and that's what movie can do.
movie cannot do too much but can like give you the experience and this experience wakes up the in part and that's the most important thing and if you forget the stereotypes and forge forget that this person is different you from and it's a stanger when you really look at the person as a naked human being you see how close the person is to you and you are taking responsibility for the person. political and social responsibility, whatever, you suddenly can love. i think the responsibility is love. >> rose: the responsibility is love. >> yeah. and the way the movie talks about it in some way. >> rose: the courage too. what does it make someone be willing to risk their own life for people they don't know.
>> yes, but to help not in a blind way you have to open up to another human being. it's not just about you, them it >> rose: you the director. >> me the director and the people in those situations. >> rose: so what did you open up about yourself. >> i don't know. if something strange happens to the movie in poland and to my surprise i never thought it would be very successful. i thought it would have some fair amount of viewers but it became like the biggest success in the polish cinema since last year and the people have going two or three times to watch the movie and it's not an easy movie to watch as you know and the people of different opinions and even quite right wing people they in some way open up to this
movie so it's some kind of the art of the reunion is this movie and reunite a lot of different people and also to reunite the survivors and the children and grandchildren of the survivors. i also met the woman who was a little girl in the movie and wrote the book about her experience and she met the person, the polish guy who wrote to us she was the one who saw them coming in the sewer and they met at the premier of the movie. it's like a lot of miraculous things happened and for me it's the lesson you have really open up. you have really to -- you cannot judge, you know. if you judge you reinforce the stereotypes. you try to give some meaning to that like moralistic meaning and
that is wrong because i think the experience of the holocaust was meaningless. there's no lesson from it except people can be terrible and also you know -- >> rose: so the only meaning of the holocaust is evil. >> right. and we have to know that it is possible. and we have to be very careful and watch ourselves we're not going in that direction again. it's the lesson i think. >> rose: who was leopold? >> he was simple man. smart, straight, kind of you know quirky guy. a little pretentious. he thought he was smarter than the others. he was a chief before the war and successful and after he met his wife and had a child and settled down but even during the war when he was a sewer
inspector he was stealing a bit, just not to forget how to do it and he's like values work, i have to be better than others i cannot be stupid. i cannot -- i have to fight for my family. i have to fight for myself and if i'm doing something i'm doing it for money and that was his first idea to make some profits and it wasn't so easy for him to change. it wasn't a miraculous change but a gradual process when he took and more responsibility for the people and in some moments it became his obsession. he needed to have them. he needed to save them. >> rose: here's a scene in which he ended in the sewer to make a deal. here it is.
>> rose: what's the most important thing. >> to show and feel how fragile is the border between good and bad. >> rose: exactly. yeah. >> how you can sleep on one side or the other in one minute and not always it depends on you really. it depends on the circumstances. >> rose: and the actors came from mostly from poland. >> mostly poland and they were fabulous i think. i really think we have a good lot of great actors now. >> rose: why did you become a filmmaker? >> i think i decided when i was 15 so it had to run in my genes
in some way and my daughter's a film director and my sister and so many film directors i think it' it's genetic probably but i wanted to express myself and tell stories and tell stories in a visual way. i was painting and also i wanted to have the power to tell people what to do. >> rose: what to do. >> yeah. politics was impossible and the activity was impossible for somebody not communist and on the movie set suddenly i was able to decide how to shape the world so i think it was the main reason. >> rose: what role does music play? music in general in my life is very important.
it gives me some kind of, you know, inner connection with myself and the music in the movie i don't like if it's too much of music. i like if the music really is another in the movie and not some kind of, how it tell, i don't like if the music expresses the emotion. the music has to let the emotion feel stronger but not to do it instead of them. >> rose: what movis do you want to make now? >> right now i'm doing a mini
series in prague for hbo and it was when i was a student it's personal to me and it was an important experience for know see how the people are ready to resign very quickly if they don't have something -- some kind of the hope. >> rose: did you say -- because i think you may have said this, i read some where that television now offers more opportunities than cinema to tell great stories. >> in states for sure. >> rose: here? >> yes. european television is so-so, you know but television decade in the last decade in fiction and documentaries as well i think is the best in american movie making happens on television. >> rose: i said in the beginning, it's an honor to have you here. thank you for joining us. >> rose: sean brock is here. he's a chef, farmer and seed
preservationist and won the award for best chef sout southe a and has two restaurants and i'm pleased to have him on the program for the first time. welcome. >> thanks for having me. >> rose: i love the way you talk. let me just say, this is called "true grit." the article but in the new yorker october 21, 2011. no man loves pigs more than sean brock and raised them and roasted them and smoked them whole in a pit. when did you fall in love with cooking. >> i was lucky. i grew up in a rural part of virginia. >> rose: where is that? >> on the border of kentucky. i like to call it the part of
virginia that should have been kentucky. the blue grass part of virginia. the part of virginia where if you're eating food at someone's home which you always were because there are no restaurants you're eating from the basement or garden and i grew up in the garden and i grew up in a town where there were no restaurants and hardly any grocery stores and it was the way of life and i thought that's the way everyone lived. it was just and people still live that way there so i grew up around food. if we weren't in the garden, we were in the kitchen. if we weren't picking beans or shredding cabbage to fe ferment. so when you grow up like that food is just built inside of you in your blood. it's just part of you.
so i decided that's what i wanted to do with my entire life is be part of food and provide that incredible joy of sharing food at a table with someone. >> rose: the old story found your passion and act on it. >> i was very lucky i found that when i was quite young. in fact by the time i was 11 i had my own hand-hammered wok and cooking and watching julia child and trying to chop onions really fast and i was ten, eleven years so it's the only thing i've ever thought about. i can't imagine doing anything else other than food. >> rose: what's the most important thing you learned since you began to cook and own restaurants. >> knowledge and wisdom is everything. we must always research and understand our past or else our future is cloudy. so for me i spent a lot of time researching the food of the 19th
century and for me that's incredible inspiration because i believe that's the when food was so pure and honest and wonderful. our plants weren't genetically engineer and our soil wasn't poisoned and tasted incredible and everybody cooked and grew food and i think we'll get back to that soon. >> rose: what do you think of molecula molecular gastroonmy. >> i believe you have to understand everything and a scientific understanding is very important. you must understand on a scientific level if you go out and fish all day and catch a fish and it took you all day and several shrimp on the hook and once you get it into the boat and into your home that fish deserves to be treated with the
utmost respect. and if we know the exact temperature and degree and celsius where the fish it perfect and i think the fish deserves that. we can't let that overrun our ideas and here t theorys. >> rose: why are you in charelston? >> because i fell in love with that city when i went there for culinary school when i was 19. one of the reasons i fell in love with it was because i read so much about the rice era in charelston and rice came into charelston and it was being grown everywhere. hundreds and hundreds of miles and that's how the cuisine was
formed. it was formed around a single crop. carolina gold rice. eventually became carolina gold rice but the cuisine was form around the pantry and the pantry the ingredients in the pantry were plants that had to be there for crop rotation purposes and the health of the soil because we didn't have fertilizers and insecticides and all these things to poison the soil and the grains, oats, wheat, peas, corn, all these things found their way to our pantry into the cuisine with the influences of the french and indians and other influences and you have what i believe is the most beautiful period of food in america the rice era in charelston.
>> rose: and you're restoring that? >> we're doing our best. i'm very fortunate to have some great friends who have dedicated their lives to it. glen roberts who has a company called hanson mills and professor david shields a professor at the university of south carolina. in fact, in 2004 they started a group called the carolina gold rice foundation and had one goal, to reboot low-country cuisine because they knew it was beautiful and the most pure and honest form of cooking america's ever seen and they knew that there were chefs that were inspired by that but there was one problem, the ingredients weren't there and i'll tell you a great story. when i was 19, i moved to charelston from the mountains of virginia to go to culinary school and had purchased all the
cook books the carolina housewife and all these books and read them and read them and buried myself in them but i kept seeing hoppen john. at the time i wasn't smart enough to realize there was so much beauty in a bowl of food that consisted of rice and peas. think about that. a bowl that is just full of rice and peas. it seemed quite boring to me so i go to a restaurant and i order the hoppenjohn, 19 years old. this is maybe 1998 and i ate the food and guess what, it tasted awful. it wasn't interesting. it wasn't delicious and i walked away confused so i gave another restaurant a shot. same thing and the reason that that bowl of the coveted hoppen
john wasn't life-changing to me is because the resources weren't available for the chefs. the farmers weren't growing the correct peas. they weren't growing carolina gold rice that built the city. they were cooking food from cardboard boxes maybe shutting there one year, two year and they weren't inspired by the ingredients but they didn't have the raw materials and once i realized that and tasted the sea island red peas and carolina gold rice it was the biggest slap of the nation i've ever experienced in my life. >> rose: that's what you set out to do. >> and i started think about my childhood and the ten varieties of of pea and beans and the 12 kinds of lettuces and the
different varieties of corn i'd never seen once in a professional kitchen. so here we are professional chefs trying to recreate southern food but the food isn't at our finger tips so i said, wow, this is a very big load of realization i have to back and get the seeds from my grandma and plant them and this journey began, this crazy journey began on restoring the flavor and i've come to realize it's not just the plants but the soil. it's a combination of the true heirloom variety of plants and healthy soil. >> rose: before it's contaminated. >> and that's how you get beautiful food. >> rose: is this what the ne ne
yorker suggested is you're recreating it. >> we have so much work to do and it's my goal and so much work ahead of us but guess what, we're on the right path. we have the right people and the right places making the right decisions putting the right plants in the right soil. >> rose: where does nutrition start with this? >> the more you engineer and modify and the more you poison the soil of course nutrition is going to be affected. so if we can move backwards a bit we'll be able to move forward. >> rose: we'll show things and te me about them. >> one of the loves of my life. i stopped eating fast food and processed foods but i miss that cheeseburger. that soft bun and we created something with food from the most respected farmers we could
find to recreate sort of that emotion you get from eating that american classic of a cheeseburger. >> rose: all right, and this is what? >> you know, this one is quite simple.om it's duck with saro and grains and sweet potatoes. >> rose: and golden rice. >> that's faro. the grains thatne was very very important to our culture and our food history. we embrace it and we embrace the idea of the pantry full of grains. >> rose: next is fried chicken skins with hot sauce and honey there you go. >> i love fried chicken as much as i love cheese burgers. >> rose: so do i. >> i have this theory about fried chicken and we've been trying to perfect it and i think we're close. >> rose: call me when you get it.
>> we're close and we're doing it in several animal fats and low temperature and half hour in a cast iron pan. >> rose: we've been trying for two years to perfect fried chicken. that's interesting to me and the experimentation and to say we know we can get this right but we're not going to stop until we do. >> we're not going to serve it until -- it's the whole mission and the whole idea of our restaurant husk. we started with an empty building ran down with homeless people in it and we stood in front of it and said what kind of building is this going to be and it's a beautiful home in 19th century charelston and i said that's the restaurant you'll eat the most perfect corn bread and grits.
>> rose: the next thing the husk bowl. >> shi shrimp and grits. a different that tells about he the history of charlata charels top because you must use the pi whole animal. >> rose: the next one is? >> it's as simple is a vegetabe crudeite. >> we all had a plate of food in the center of the table and was sliced vegetables, period. no salt and you would eat the food and grab a bite of radish or pepper or cucumber or onion and it was so are refreshing and wonderful. >> rose: finally this is you. i've been looking at your arm and u can see the edge of the
tattoo coming out of your arm. >> it's an entire garden and they say you wear your heart on your sleeve and i thought about that and decided i'd wear it on my sleeve the rest of my life and i grew up in the garden and where i want to die. vegetables then earth and the soil and all those beautiful things so every morning when i wake up it reminds me of the past, present and future. >> >> rose: i can't let the conversation end without talking about pigs. give me the sean brock treatment of pigs. >> going back to the old way of living a pig can provide you with so much. it can provide you with a cooking median, it can provide you with ham from it's back legs you can preserve for a year and
pork chops and it's such a versatile animal for a backyard farm or that old-fashioned way of living that i believe that it's just an important part of our culture. and it tastes amazing. amazing. >> rose: you're a great friend of david chang who's a friend of the program. >> i love david chang to death. he's been a great friend for many years and a great source of inspiration for many years and he's always been kind enough to provide me with advice throughout my career. i owe a lot to david chang. >> rose: he's opening restaurants around the world. are you going to open a restaurant here in new york? >> i love new york city so much -- i'm crazy about this city, the energy that's here and when you leave here you're just